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Mercedes-Benz M-class (ML320, ML350, ML500 and ML55) 2005 and earlier



  • I have to think that tires are the problem here. I have a 99 430, in the mtns of western NC, and we get a lot of snow, although little last winter. I replaced the OEM Dunlops (275/55/17) at approx 20K mi, with Mich. LTX M/S tires in a 265/70/17 size, and they were great, but they made the truck sit 2.5" higher, and it was unstable. This past summer I put a on set of Mich. Cross Terrains, in the proper size (I have a very helpful tire merchant, and he gave a good allowance on the LTX). The tread pattern on the X_Terrains is very similar to the LTX, with more sipps. So far this winter, they have been great, thru several snow falls. My drive is quite steep, and gravel, and never gets plowed. Both the LTX and the X Terrains have no problem getting up the drive. When it's really slick, I recomend turning off the ESP, so that engine power doesn't cut back. Nokian is another brand you might consider, I don't know if they make anything in your size. Here is a tire size calculator to help compare diff sizes

    Good luck and don't give up on the ML, it's a great foul weather truck.



  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    I have a 98 ML 320 that I bought new and have driven it considerably in the mountain snow. We have a condo in Mammoth Lakes CA. Which is in the high Sierra and never felt like I couldn't go where I needed to go because lack of traction. I replaced the original Dunlops at 45K miles and put Dunlops on again, only the next level up and have been very pleased with them. While driving in the mountain snow, it gave me the feeling that it was impossible for me to get stuck unless I drove it into the ditch. Now if one is driving on ice, then all bets are off as it's very difficult to get traction unless you put chains on all four wheels.
  • info on the new ML350? I may have missed it but I would appreciate if if someone could give me a link to any info on the introduction, and performance of the new V6. Many thanks!
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Wofgang pages offer a wealth of information on anything related to the ML.

  • for the link! Great site and I will use it. I couldn't find out when the 350 would go on sale tho'. I did find out all I wanted to know about the new engine and performance. After looking at Wolfgang's site and the info on the new and bigger (more "G"like?)2004 ML and the return of diesels to the US market I may wait for a bit. Thanks again!
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    The 3.7L-powered ML replaces the 320 and has been on the web site for a couple of weeks.
  • Something is wrong with your ML. I have driven more than 100,000 miles with MLs in Alaska in every kind of terrain and weather condition we have here. Deep snow on steep grades is how I drive the last 1/2 mile to get home each night in winter. Sometimes I do this on pure ice that it is impossible to stand on (then I use chains on all 4 wheels) The ML has never had a problem. Last winter I drove the thing home and the snow was above the bumper. I was amazed that it could pull up a steep grade through that stuff. The ML is bad [non-permissible content removed].
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Welcome to Town Hall, Alaskaml. Sounds like you live near Golden View maybe? (I put in ~20 yrs. in Rogers Park). There's a Rover driver in Stuckagain who hangs out here you need to meet (Nanuq). He's into snow over the bumper too!

    Steve, Host
  • Not Stuckagain......Eagle River. I live at about 1500' back in the Valley.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Oh, that's even "better" . I have visions of a Gelaendewagen in your future! Maybe it'll even snow up your way soon and cover up the glaciation.

    Steve, Host
  • 45k miles and still in okay condition.
  • I bought Mintex brake pads for my ML320 online, but I can't remember from whom. The spring clips fell out of the rivets on the pads. Anyone know how I can contact Mintex? Think I'll stick with MB OEM brakes in the future, even if they last half as long and cos 2 or 3 times more.
  • brarbrar Posts: 1
    Own a 2001 ML 320. Overall, fairly happy with the ride quality but have had to endure 3 trips to the dealership in the past year. Driver side window jammed, key stuck in the ignition and yesterday transmission would not engage. Also, dealer recommended front brake pad replacements at only 23,000 miles. Is that normal ? Meantime, my 2000 Accord has not let me down once. Very disappointed in the reliability of the vehicle.
  • We have about 6" of new snow on the ground, with more falling. I had to go out this AM. To go down my steep drive, I tried out low range and 1st gear - with feet off the brake and gas, it crept down at about 2-3 mph - very controllable, going back up in hi range, with ESP off, was a no brainer.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    The ML got a loose clip on one end of the steering fluid pipe this morning. It lost lots of the steering fluid, and I couldn't turn the wheel. Called MB for assistance. They sent a tech and got it fixed. The whole thing took under an hour. I'm very happy with MB's fast response (of course, not so happy with the faulty clip).
  • My 2000 MB430 (34,000 miles) has developed a rumble noise below 20 mph? Has anybody experienced this problems?
    Comments appreciated.

  • My 2000 ML430 started recently to make a very loud power steering noise when started in the morning (turning or not turning the wheel). It disappears as every part in the engine compartment warms up.
    Has anybody experienced this problem?

  • Anyone been watching how cheap the ML's are going on E-Bay? Unbelieivable. You can purchase a 99 ML320 loaded with less than 40k miles in the high teens.

    Guess I'll have to keep it forever :-(
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    When you say that you can purchase a 99ML for under $20, did someone actually purchase one for that price? Or is it a bid? Did it meet the reserve? Or was it one of those Christian Estate sales where you can buy MBs for $5K? There was recently another scam where scammers were downloading vin#s from actual dealers, selling the car for thousands below value, asking for a 15% deposit wired to Latvia, and then vamoosing.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    Well, you better have it checked out by the dealer. I had the same symptom but didn't pay much attention before I had to call for roadside assistance. You may already have a leaking steering system. The noise you hear is probably the steering pump sucking in air instead of the fluid.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    According to Edmunds, the sale price of a '99 ML320 to a private party is about $20K, not including options-- not bad considering the number CR has done on MLs since '98.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    There a couple of things I wish the ML would do.

    1) I would like the fog lights to come on with just the parking lights, not with the headlights.

    2) I wish the power steering was easier to turn in tight parking situations. I guess the tires are too big.

    3) I would like radio controls on the steering wheel.

    4) I would like the heated seats to be offered in the second row.


    1) The Parktronic works perfectly, especially since it's difficult to see the end of the front hood.

    2) The seats are very comfortable for long trips. (just completed a 2,000 mile trip)

    3) The power of the V8 is awesome!

    4) On icy surfaces, the ML sticks like glue with perfect traction. (Drove 12 hours (700 miles) through an icy/snowy situation on my 2,000 trip)

    Just my .02, Mark
    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • Kiiwii, you were right. Thanks for the advice. I took my ML430 to the dealer for the Inspection A and they replaced the whole power steering pump assembly (at 34,500 miles!!).
    They also had to replaced the brake pads (front & rear) and the front rotors. It seems to me it is too early to make this repair ($732.50).
    Regarding the rumble noise between 13-17 MPH three dealer mechanics suggested to change the tires and do an alignment. Tires are still good but I plan to change them in January. I bought a set of original Dunlop GrandTrek at $81/tire at TireRack.

  • Buy one of these SUV's. I bought a 99 brand new and ended up having to give it back to the dealer after less than a year because of numerous problems. I thought it was an aberration so I got a 2000. To date, there have been 13 malfunctions on the vehicle, ranging from minor annoyances (cruise control quit, heated seat quit, etc.) to more major things (key won't go into the ignition, and today, power steering just quit). I can't keep the vehicle running long enough to sell it.

    My advice is, to save yourself lots of $$$ and headaches, go buy yourself a Kia Sportage and tape a Mercedes star to the front of it. You will then have the Mercedes ML "look" on a vehicle that will run a good portion of the time, and for maybe a third of the cost.

    Best of luck.
  • Hi there, been a lurker for some time, and now have some questions on the 2003 ML 350 which my wife and I are now considering when our 2000 RX 300 comes off lease in late Feb.
    1) How difficult is it to remove the standard stereo (not Bose and no Navigation --I will order the car this way) and replace with aftermarket equipment. Has anyone done this? and has anyone put a CD changer under the front seat. In the back is useless to us (on the RX 300 it is in the glove compartment). Also seems like a standard DIN head unit would fit up front. Is this the case??? (Not trying to be a snob, but if we buy, we do plan on keeping for some time and since I do have aftermarket Alpine and Boston Acoustics in my other car I know how much better aftermarket can be compared to Bose)!
    2) I plan on buying not leasing and holding onto the vehicle for some time....any thoughts on Xenon headlamps??? If I do hold onto the ML for a long time will I be the only MB owner in the future without them?? as I am assuming as time goes by they will be more prevalent.....
    3) I read on a Edmunds review a while back that the air re-circulation switch automatically resets to open the vent after it has been closed for over 30 minutes. This could be a major issue for me as I live in northern NJ, frequently drive in traffic and on interstates, and prefer not to breath fumes every half-hour as a reminder to close the vent. Can this control be reset at the dealer???
    4) Extended Warrantee or not ??? If I get an extended warrantee it will be from MB....
    5) Did anyone get the inspiration package, how is the leather different???
    Thanks in advance??? Rob
  • My ML has 28,000 miles on it and the brake warning light is on. 28,000 miles??? And a fourth of that has been hauling it back and forth to the dealer (250 miles each way) to the dealer for fixes!!!
  • On the way to the Acura dealer last night we somehow ended up leasing a ML350 with the Inspiration package. A long story with a happy ending. The "Inspiration" leather adds stitching, white stitching on black leather for our silver. The center arm rest is also covered w/ leather as oppossed to plastic. Every silver ML350 available had the Inspiration, which made it any easy decision and only added $9 to the monthly.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    It's very easy to remove the radio (MCS). All you need is a pair of the removal keys. I believe they sell this in the dealer for somewhere around $20. You can get a set from eBay for about $10.
  • Does anyone have any advice on the integrated phone for the M Class? I am in the process of buying an ML 350, and I am trying to decide if the voice recognition option is worth the extra money.
  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    I don't have the voice activated phone on my ML but I do have it on my E430. I love it and it is so convenient especially with more and more states mandating that hands free phones be used in lieu of hand held. Whether it's worth the added cost is a personal decision. It is a lot of money but that call can only be made by you.
    I hope that this helps.
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